IT'S BIRTHDAY MONTH

Birthdays are the most important days of the year. When people don't get into their birthdays the way I do, I respect it, but I still put the effort into making them feel special. Here's why: BECAUSE IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY, DUMBY. It's the day you were born; the day you started existing, becoming a person with a future and a chance to be a part of whatever this is. It's the day your mom did something incredible. It's the day the people around you were given a new reason to love. 

I make a big deal about my birthday. On the first day of May, birthday month strikes. The anticipation builds and builds, and the twelve days leading up to my birthday are more exciting than popping the cardboard doors on an advent calendar. I do special things for myself everyday, even if it just means napping. Then, at 11:59 on May 12, my eyes are glued to the nearest clock, and I count the seconds into my own international holiday. 

On my birthday, the first thing I (try) to do is call my mom to say thank you. Then I do whatever I want, eat the yummiest things, see everyone I love, all while wearing a special, new dress. I end the night by partying like Cinderella, loving every moment, knowing that the clock will strike midnight eventually, and the magic will dissipate. 

My mother is the reason I love birthdays so much. She is the queen of birthday parties; each one had a theme, homemade foods, and she came up with unique games for us to play. The luau themed one was great, and my mom went so far as to make a pig shaped ice cream cake, which gave my eight year old friend, Ben, the opportunity to ask "Can I have more pig butt, please?". Classic. 

My favorite birthday party, though, was the best and the worst party all at once. For my thirteenth birthday, my golden birthday, which fell on a Friday, my mom asked me what I wanted to do. Because I had finally become too cool for school, I described a low key night of going to get pizza with some friends and then a sleepover at our home. She said, "Okay, just give me a list of the people you want to invite, so I can make a reservation." Just give her a list of names, she said. Little did I know, that was the key to the best/worst birthday ever. I then went around school, asking my friends if they wanted to join me for my birthday festivities. All of them, except for my best friend, said no. They said they had other plans, or they just couldn't, or practice, or blah blah blah. So, feeling rejected, my mother and I went to the restaurant to meet with my friend and her mom to have a small get together. When we entered the dining room, there were all of my friends that had turned me down for my birthday party, screaming, "SURPRISE!". My mom had individually called my friends and convinced them to turn me down, with the intention of creating a sort of surprise party. It was awesome, but man, that week leading up to it sucked. But it was awesome.

Your birthday is special, because it is yours. To be so small in this giant world, knowing that what you leave behind could be everything and nothing all at once, and that we were put on this planet not deserving anything-- it's true, I don't believe we deserve anything...except our birthdays. 

In perpetuity, 

Hannah

PS: thanks, Mom.

PPS: I finally made it to a Yayoi Kusmama exhibit and experienced eight, count 'em, EIGHT infinity rooms. I cried. 

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Dear Diary,

The week before last, I was too tired to blog, but I was thinking about it. Last week, I wanted to voice my opinions on censorship, after HyperAllergic's most recent article about Dana Shutz's painting of Emmett Till at the Whitney. However, I started reading other people's opinions on other things, which means anything, and I became over saturated. 

This week I just want to write to myself, without opinions, and reflect. Reflect that opinions are interesting and make for good conversation, but ultimately meaningless. Reflect that it's important to stop being so hard on ourselves. Reflect that selfishness is not always a bad thing. Reflect that I love watching the ducks and the seagulls across the street, through my window, and I could do that and only that all day, and it would be a good day. Reflect that no matter how much I despise gray areas, accepting their existence might actually be the definition of being present. Reflect that the great balancing act of our lives is one of the biggest challenges with the easiest solutions. 

Reflect that I watch this video almost everyday, and it satisfies all my needs. 

This guy has it all right. No shame, all the love.

In perpetuity,

Hannah 

ShouldaWouldaCoulda

The first time I truly understood the subjunctive was in my high school french class. What I understood was that I hated french, because of the subjunctive. It took two forms. That's twice as much effort, and as your usual high schooler, I deemed my efforts more valuable if focused on picking blackheads. 

Let's do the time warp again, to present day. I have a basic understanding of the french vocabulary, some surface scarring in my t-zone, and a very stubborn persistence to not lament. I'll put up with some annoyances, but if there's a problem, then it's gotta get fixed, otherwise I'm listening to y'all wine, or worse, myself. Have a headache? Take some medicine. Ripped your pants? Sew 'em up.  Have a blackhead? Pick it. Have a scar from picking your blackhead? Exfoliate and get over it.

But, wait. Life isn't that easy. What if I'm super sad because what I could have done is now what I should have done, and what I had done is not what I wish I would have done? These problems are the ones that aren't based on fact. They're the problems that remain in my past, haunting me, and filling me with shame. They're the troubles that worry me about the future, or better understood as the unknown. They're the voices in my head that I have to listen to on top of what's happening in reality, because I have experienced the really awful times in my past and am only perceiving my future to repeat what's already been revealed. 

Stop. Breathe. Be here now. 

The past can not be changed, and the future is not promised. I know, because I use my magic 8 ball when I'm stuck in traffic to pass the time, and it's not always right (but when it is, it's never when I want it to be). What I'm saying is that if you want to be at your happiest, and I should hope you would, then change your present. Think about what needs to altered now. Treat the emotional predicaments as fact. Of course, feel your feelings, but remember to let go. Really sad? Feel it so you know what happiness is by contrast, and then release it. Really angry? Express that in a healthy and constructive way. Need to be a little self destructive because you just have that craving for the ease that is commiseration? You're human (maybe not, I don't know who's reading this) and sometimes it's ok to be a little selfish. I'm learning this. I'm learning that these are the simple solutions, and courage is all it takes. 

I think about this more often than not, and now all the time, as my past has caused me to make some changes about my present, and my future is more than uncertain. It's easy to let the depression of feeling such heavy darkness fully flatten my existence, into a two dimensional loneliness. 

Then my best friend (my mom) sent me this video. To close a circular pilgrimage, the person in this video is Phuk Tran, and he owns the tattoo shop at which I received my first tattoo. My mother and I both got tattoos of flowers accompanied by script. In an attempt to enlighten my first ink session, and knowing I was very depressed, I drew myself a poppy with the word "healing" in greek. Now here I am, a being invisible to the human eye, watching Phuk Tran tell me I am not alone, and that if I eliminate the shouldawouldacoulda from my thought process, I shallwillcan be much happier.